Determinants of Low Birth Weight in India: An Investigation from a Single Hospital Survey in Madhya Pradesh
Keywords:Determinants, India, Low birth weight, Newborn, Normal birth weight
Background: Birth weight is one of the most important criteria for determining the neonatal and infant survival. Low birth weight (LBW) is a major public health concern, especially in developing countries, and is frequently related to child morbidity and mortality. LBW is a major public health concern and one of the strongest single risk factors for early neonatal mortality and morbidity. Materials and Methods: About 1000 live newborns on the 1st day of birth and their mothers were studied from the department of obstetrics and gynecology and intensive neonatal care, department of pediatrics of a tertiary care teaching hospital between January 2016 and December 2019. Examinations of mother and newborns were carefully carried out in all cases recorded on a pretested and predesigned pro forma. Results: Mothers weighing <45 kg delivered significantly higher number of LBW babies than normal birth babies. This is statistically very highly significant. It appears that mothers with mid-arm circumference (MAC) 22 cm or less had given birth to much higher number of LBW babies (74.8%), while mothers with MAC >26 cm gave birth to higher number of LBW babies than normal BW babies. This is very highly significant (P < 0.001). Mothers who had taken iron plus folic acid tablets only for few days in any of the trimesters had given birth to higher number of LBW babies while mothers who have taken hematinics throughout pregnancy or taken irregularly had given birth to most of normal birth weight babies. The incidence of LBW was almost 2 ½ times more in joint family (72.6%) than nuclear family. Mothers with moderate to severe anemia have given birth to higher number of LBW babies. Mothers with Hb >10 g% gave birth to higher number of normal BW babies. Conclusion: LBW and premature babies were more prevalent in joint families, with low socioeconomic status, maternal illiteracy, and housewives. With increase in income, both LBW and prematurity decreased reflecting a better distribution of nutrition and care for pregnant and the newborn. Mothers educated till primary school and unskilled workers had higher prevalence of LBW babies.
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